Josh Wildman: How A Generational Business Transforms Lives One Person At A Time

Written by Matthew Ludden / February 9, 2024 / 39 Minute Read
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This uplifting conversation with Josh Wildman, CEO of Wildman Group, we learn about how businesses can be intentional about community and individual development.


Here We Grow

Episode 10

Episode Description

Months of contemplation after being questioned as to why he wanted to grow his business made Josh Wildman’s purpose clear: To transform lives for the better, one person at a time.

In this episode of Here We Grow, Marcia Barnes talks with Wildman Group CEO Josh Wildman about his mission to bring every employee, customer, and vendor into a relationship with Jesus Christ through his third-generation family business.

Hear how Josh and his family have used their success to give back to their community—even when it didn’t make sense on the balance sheet. Learn how a great culture based on faith led Wildman Group through healthy transitions and effective acquisitions.

From his experience as a CEO to his involvement in the Truth At Work marketplace ministry, Josh’s story illustrates how faith and business can work hand-in-hand to improve the world.

To learn more about the podcast and Marcia Barnes’ book Here We Grow: The Marketing Formula to 10x Your Business and Transform Your Future, visit

Key Takeaways:

  • Nurturing connections is critical not only for business success but also for preserving core values that serve one another in love.
  • Engaging with peer group roundtables such as Truth at Work can be instrumental in bringing about life transformations.
  • The Wildman Group’s ethos to empower individuals to their full potential transforms lives.
  • The Wildman Group’s practice of dedicating a significant portion of profits for the greater good exemplifies what it means to lead with a servant’s heart.

About Josh Wildman

Josh Wildman serves as CEO of Wildman Business Group and Managing Partner of You The Fan. As a 3rd generation leader of the Wildman family of companies, Josh has worked the last 24 years at Wildman to fulfill his personal mission of Be Generous and Change Lives. Josh has served in all capacities from delivery service professional, to GM, COO, and now CEO since 2012 while growing the company from $4 Million in annual revenue to a run rate of $90 Million.

Josh’s areas of expertise include enhancing culture, accounting and finance, business development, M&A, strategic planning, and customer relations. Josh attended Point Loma Nazarene, Taylor University, and Grace College before joining Wildman full-time. Josh also serves as the Board President at Truth @ Work, board member of C4One and Wakewell, and a Board Director at the Textile Rental Services Association.

Josh is a Jesus Lover, Market Place Ministry Leader, Growth Junkie with “Lint in the Veins”.

Full Transcript

Marcia Barnes (00:05):

Data shows that faith-based organizations are more effective at creating transformational change than government. When I develop a well-thought-out strategy, I know for a fact that the money is going to help heal our world. I also recommend planning your financials so that you can get your tithes made in a timely way as close to the time you earned them as you can, I’ve seen good power in that. If you’re not sure how you want to disperse the money you want to allocate, it’s okay to put it into a donor-advised fund until a time when you are called to donate to somebody, it’s like a checking account for your donations. One of the things I’ve seen though, is that people get too cautious about making sure they find the perfect organization or ministry to donate to, they want to do a ton of checking to determine the legitimacy and how funds will be used.



This is important research to do, but it’s okay if you’re called to be reckless with your giving as well, I think that gets blessed in an equal way. You want to make as many sound decisions as you can, but don’t worry so much about being perfect, you’ll end up paralyzing yourself and not get your tithing into the world to do what it’s supposed to do. The last thing to remember about giving, and this is extremely important, is that you must release attachment to your gift. Assuming that you have made an informed decision and prayed for wisdom, make the decision to give and then just let that money go. Expect nothing in return such as recognition, a plaque, a parking spot, or a thank you, just give, holding any kind of attachment to that money will just bring pain and disappointment.


Narrator (01:56):

This is Here We Grow, a show for growth-minded leaders looking for transformational impact hosted by Marcia Barnes. How can your business improve the world? Statistically, faith-based businesses are more effective at creating lasting change than government programs. In this episode of Here We Grow, Marcia speaks with Josh Wildman about the transformational impacts he has been able to create as both the CEO at Wildman Business Group and as a board member of the nonprofit Truth At Work. By implementing strategies Josh originally learned at a Truth At Work conference, he has pushed his business beyond even his wildest expectations.


Marcia Barnes (02:44):

Today I’m joined on the podcast by my good friend Josh Wildman of the Wildman Group out of Warsaw, Indiana, welcome, Josh.


Josh Wildman (02:51):

Thank you, Marcia.


Marcia Barnes (02:52):

Great. It’s been fascinating watching your business grow and master generational change and handing leadership off over the years, a lot of exciting things going on at the Wildman Group. Why don’t you tell our audience what you guys do and what is happening in your business that’s causing all of this growth and the engagement that you’re getting?


Josh Wildman (03:13):

What we do, our job really is to get dirty things clean and we’re an industrial laundry primarily. We also have a facility service business and a licensed consumer products business that keeps us busy, so we’re a diversified business group. Wildman is actually our family’s last name, and so we’re third generation founded in 1952, and our goal is to make it through the fourth generation, but not only that, to actually become a 200-year business and really following a vision that was set forth by some of the team and family at Hobby Lobby, the green family, and been blessed to have an advisor there that’s helping us with that. But that’s our day job, but ultimately, our purpose is to change lives.


Marcia Barnes (03:53):

That’s awesome. So changing lives, tell us what that looks like? You can say that, “Our purpose is to change lives,” but you’re a laundry, you make dirty things clean, right?


Josh Wildman (04:04):



Marcia Barnes (04:05):

How does that change people’s lives? Tell me about that.


Josh Wildman (04:07):

It starts with community, and so the purpose statement really is to wildly change lives by empowering people to realize their full potential and purpose. Ultimately, we want to be a community, we’ve got a lot of programs and processes that help, they’re a catalyst to change lives, but ultimately, it’s 1% at a time stepping into the opportunity and really engaging that to grow and learn. And ultimately, we believe that the ultimate changed life is the life that knows Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and is growing and is walking with Jesus Christ.



While we’re a for-profit business and we are very bold in that faith, we welcome people of all faith and really just ask that they respect that stance because we believe it creates a great work community and a great give-back to the local community, so that’s what that looks like. And again, there’s a lot of programs that we do, one of the main programs is dream management, we have life coaches on staff, it’s voluntary, so our team can really plug in to somebody that’s going to totally invest in their life and helping them accomplish their dreams which changes lives.


Marcia Barnes (05:14):

That’s remarkable. You do some things that really stretch even my comfort level, having built businesses on great culture and doing crazy things like sending people on mission trips and service projects and all the things in between, but you guys really live it out. One of the things I’ve noticed, you have a fund that you have there for employee assistance as needed too, how does that work?


Josh Wildman (05:37):

And I won’t take credit for a lot of the things that we do, like Solomon said, there’s nothing new under the sun, we borrowed a lot of this and very thankful in our organization, I think we’re going to talk about Truth At Work invited us to visit Movement Mortgage.


Marcia Barnes (05:53):

I was on that visit with you guys.


Josh Wildman (05:55):

Casey Crawford and his vision and his leadership, he’s done an amazing job with that organization and scaled it incredibly from a business perspective, but from a culture perspective, they’re blazing new trails. And so when we were there, we learned about Love Works, which is a program where we as team members at Wildman give to a fund that is matched dollar for dollar by the company, and then our team members, our customers, even people from the local community can ask for grants from that fund for any kind of need that lines up with our bylaws basically, which would be like financial need coming up short on the heating bill this winter, unexpected car repair, travel expenses because family’s sick.



We also support adoption and we support missions trip, we support continued education, and so that fund’s been amazing and it’s actually grown faster than we’ve given it away, and it’s been a lot of fun to share that and to give back. And so it helps us be generous as team members, but also be generous in giving as team members, which is really cool.


Marcia Barnes (07:06):

And that’s been in your DNA since the beginning, some of these are things you’ve added along the way, but it’s been part of your DNA for a long time.


Josh Wildman (07:12):

Yeah, my father is an amazing man of God, one of the things that he really instilled in us just as children in the home was tithing. And just Malachi 3:10, “you just can test me in this, bring the whole tithe into the storehouse and see if I don’t just pour out more blessing than your barns can contain,” I’m paraphrasing that.


Marcia Barnes (07:34):

Right, don’t anybody call the scripture police on this here?


Josh Wildman (07:38):

Yeah, probably. But in that, my dad also challenged us and it was a paradigm shift. And I know there’s other organizations that do it, and in 2005 when we were growing the company rapidly, cash was an everyday conversation, he came in and said, “I’d like to make a commitment to a local church building project.” And that started us on a path of generosity around committing 20% of our profits every year to the local and global community and giving that and having our teams participate in that.



And it’s true, we actually average over 30% a year just because we set it and it seems like there’s always enough, and yet the company’s grown 25 times over in that same time period. So truly, to me, that helps my faith to see Malachi 3:10 lived out and that started with my father and even his father, obviously.


Marcia Barnes (08:31):

The interesting thing about that verse is, it’s the only time in the Bible that God says, “test me,” the only time, that’s how important this is to him.


Josh Wildman (08:40):

Take note, right?


Marcia Barnes (08:40):

Yeah. This is how much I believe this will help you, it’s there to help us because he doesn’t want our money, he wants our heart and the giving follows where your heart’s aiming, right?


Josh Wildman (08:53):



Marcia Barnes (08:55):

That’s wonderful. When you’re building great culture, and we’ve talked about a lot of the really good things, we’re going to continue to do that through our podcast today, but I once heard a speaker from ExactTarget in their heyday, and he was the HR director who had been brought in to help them scale, and he made the statement, “the culture is what it is on the day you land in a business, and your job as a keeper of that culture is to lift up that which is good about it and push down that which is bad.”



I know in different roles that I’ve had what’s been good and what are things that don’t exactly work the way I want them to. When you think about the things you would rather push down or put processes around to maintain their reality of your culture, what types of things come up for you on that?


Josh Wildman (09:43):

I think the number one culture killer in any organization, business or not, it could be church, it could be a family, it could be school is gossip, and I think Satan preys on our minds. And again, I borrowed this from Dave Ramsey, but they have a no gossip policy, one warning, second time you’re terminated. And in our organization, we just talk about, is a conversation above the line or below the line? And are you talking to the person that actually has the answer or can get you the answer or can resolve the problem? If you’re not, it’s gossip and it’s taken away from culture, it’s taken away from you and it’s taken away from the person that you’re talking to.



And so for me, that’s the number one, keeping it simple, if we can keep drama and gossip out of our organization or minimize it, we can focus on the good and the positive and being not only generous, but just being grateful. And they talk about the five to one ratio, everybody needs to hear five good jobs for every one, “we got to talk about how you showed up to that customer today.” So it’s maybe oversimplified, it’s one of those things easy to say, really hard to do, but that’s what we try to do.


Marcia Barnes (11:00):

That’s a really good point. Truth At Work actually had some good content on gossip years ago that makes me think I might want to pull that out again and train on it. But a lot of the research I’ve done on it, because I’ve worked in call centers a lot of my career, and you’ve got lots of closeness of your employees shoulder to shoulder and time for gossip to set in, but the phrase that was used that I think is correct is, it’s workplace violence. I’ve seen people’s careers really take a hit because of somebody starting something that was really gossip about them.


Josh Wildman (11:36):

The power of the tongue and the mouth is amazing, it can either raise a person up to the highest highs or it can totally tear somebody down in only a couple of minutes.


Marcia Barnes (11:45):

I used to be really bad about gossip, not necessarily gossip, but about saying things to my boss at defenders about another person’s performance without them being in the room. And Dave healed me really quick of that, what he did was, I told him something about a team member and he said, “hold on just one moment,” and he went and got the team member and brought him in and said, “she says that you did this or said this, did you do that or say that?” And just knowing that in the future I would be held accountable for my words caused me to go, don’t do that again, go talk to John first before I go talking to Dave, because it’s a form of gossip and he’s not in there to represent himself in his point of view.


Josh Wildman (12:27):



Marcia Barnes (12:29):

It’s something people don’t pay enough attention to. And especially, I heard Dr. Henry Cloud speak this past week on the state of mental health among people post COVID. So pre COVID, the tests that they run for anxiety and depression, 14% of the general population would be viewed as being anxious or having depression. Post COVID, still that number is 40%. So when you’re working in delicate environments with people who are carrying a lot emotionally, this is one thing we cannot tolerate.


Josh Wildman (13:04):

There’s definitely lot of sensitivity right now, we’re easily offended.


Marcia Barnes (13:10):

Like that example I gave about my team member that Dave pulled me back on, that’s a change in life. Sometimes changing lives isn’t just the things that you get promoted to or achieve or goals and things, there are also behaviors you correct and things you stop doing that can create devastation. Where did this DNA for wanting to change lives come from? I’m hearing scripture in God, but it seems like there’s something maybe in your dad or you going through a transformation?


Josh Wildman (13:42):

Yeah, kind of to tell two stories there, really early on when I started in the business, which is, I’m an unlikely CEO, I didn’t want to be in the family business, I didn’t want to be in Indiana, but ended up there, God really called me into it. And once I engaged that, my brother-in-law and I were actually at the Global Leadership Summit and got inspired that, why wouldn’t we use our workplace to further God’s kingdom? A little bit pioneering for us, or at least in our thinking, didn’t have really anybody to look to towards that, ultimately, that led to, fast-forward, 15 years later, our board, which thank you Marcia, for being one of our board members, this is a couple of years-


Marcia Barnes (14:30):

Thank you for being the board chair.


Josh Wildman (14:33):

… A couple of years before you join though, I was laying out our five-year plan and here’s where we want to grow too and here’s what we’re going to do, and the board member stopped me dead in the tracks, the power of a question, he said, “well, why do you want to do that?” I leaned forward ready to answer it and I bumbled around with a few statements and realized, I don’t know because that’s what you do next, that’s what we do in companies, we grow. Ultimately, I wrestled with that for about three months and it was in a hotel room at a trade show in Las Vegas, I was sitting there early in the morning working up against the deadline for the next board meeting going, I got to get an answer started on this.



And I just started thinking in 20 some years of working in the organization, working with family, working with all of our people, I am a better follower of Jesus Christ, I’m a better father, a better husband, a better leader, a better community member because of the community at Wildman, because of our workplace. It challenged me and ultimately it was just like, there it was, it changed lives. My life’s been changed, how can we be intentional as a work community? We are in industrial laundry, we get dirty things clean, how can we use that to ultimately.



We spent 80,000 hours at work, the thing we’ve got, which is the greatest resource right now, is time. Let’s use some of that time to be intentional about, what do you think about life? What are you struggling with? What are some of your dreams? Just asking that, the power of that question, what’s your one dream right now? People don’t know how to answer it because they’ve not been asked it. And ultimately, if you let them wrestle with it, all of a sudden all these things come out and that’s beautiful, and so that was where that came from.


Marcia Barnes (16:20):

That’s awesome. So Joshua, regarding your dad and the position of donating 20% of profits to Kingdom Impact, and you can tell me if this is right or not, but I heard a story years ago before I’d even met you, that your dad made a pledge, it might’ve been to the church building fund that you talked about, and then business went sideways and he went and borrowed the money from the bank to make the pledge.


Josh Wildman (16:49):

Very close, yeah. It was that project 2005, I was the general manager at that time, my dad had hired an outside CEO. My dad came in and made this request, the business was sideways when he came in and made the request, we’d made a big acquisition, borrowed a lot of money, we’re putting two cultures together and growing into that acquisition to positive cashflow. And we were on the right track, but certainly didn’t have this amount that God was calling my dad to ask us to admit to. And my dad asked the question, and I feel foolish even saying it, but I was sitting there going, “there’s no way we can do this.” And our CEO just leaned in and goes, “I think we can make that happen.” And we borrowed from a line of credit to give it to God.



The faith’s in the Bible, I don’t know that that’s a good business or biblical principle, but we did it. What it was, was we were faithful to what the Holy Spirit called my dad towards, and that commitment was God honored. And like I said, he’s faithful to it and he’s going to do that and more to those that really follow the Holy Spirit, sometimes it doesn’t make sense on the balance sheet.


Marcia Barnes (18:07):

That’s a good point, sometimes it doesn’t make sense on the balance sheet, but you just know what you need to do. I definitely see that in you guys in the way that you’re leading too. So who’s changed your life along the way? What’s happened inside you, and who are the people that God put in your life to help guide you along the way?


Josh Wildman (18:26):

God’s just put consistently mentors in my life for many, many years. Marcia, you’re one of them, you’ve spoken in, challenged me, inspired me, consult me, so thank you.


Marcia Barnes (18:37):

My pleasure to serve, but you give me a lot more credit than what I think.


Josh Wildman (18:41):

That’s a good mentoring relationship, I think, is where you think about Paul and Timothy, that’s the classic relationship. That ultimately, God just put people in my life at the right times that had more experience and wisdom than I had, and intuitively, I think he put in me that desire to seek counsel to-


Marcia Barnes (19:04):

You do that faithfully.


Josh Wildman (19:05):

… Have that ability to go, I probably don’t know as much as I think I do and just ask questions like, what does this look like? And am I on the right track? And so that’s been really good. And then I think something I just share for any leader that’s in development, even though I had great mentors, I didn’t have a business coach, and so I’ve got a spiritual business coach and I’ve got a tactical business coach, which that relationship developed over the last three or four years, and I wish I had that 15, 20 years ago because, boy, that’s been instrumental.



Those people have absolutely changed my life in that they’ve been there to give me advice, wisdom, counsel, accountability, and to just be some of my biggest cheerleaders, biggest fans. And so leadership’s hard, it’s lonely, when you try to-


Marcia Barnes (20:00):

Especially in that COC, that thing is just, everybody thinks they want to be there, it’s a difficult mantle.


Josh Wildman (20:08):

… Yeah, there’s a pressure there and a loneliness, and you don’t get the feedback sometimes that you need, you got to search for it, and so I think having that’s been huge.


Marcia Barnes (20:17):

Mm-hmm. That’s good.


Josh Wildman (20:18):

There’s a pressure there and a loneliness, and you don’t get the feedback sometimes that you need, you got to search for it. And so I think having that’s been huge.


Marcia Barnes (20:28):

Mm-hmm. That’s good. Something I see going on with your business that’s been fascinating is, you have a great culture, but you’re also investing heavily in the culture. So there’s real cost to having dream managers and good benefits, and you’re paying top of market wages for your industry. And now you’ve been doing some acquisitions and I’m curious and being on the board, I’ve seen some of these happen, but there’s a curiosity in me about how those acquisitions are coming in with so much enthusiasm. I’ve done acquisitions in my past career and it can be a difficult thing to do the integration, but it seems like you’re attracting them with this culture that you’ve created. How is that going from your point of view?


Josh Wildman (21:17):

I think identifying the right acquisitions has been part of it, the acquisitions where there’s already a value alignment. It may not be stated in the same way, but there’s enough alignment there, but ultimately, there’s a hunger to grow to be better, and so I think identifying the right acquisition. And then we do commit, at the end of the day, programs don’t build culture, but they reinforce what it is, and so we spend about 1% of our revenue above and beyond what a normal company would on people, systems, and programs.



In addition to that, we’re really deliberate with acquisitions at the front end around, the classic line is, we just partnered and bought your company, but nothing’s going to change. Well, things are going to change, but if we invest, especially in the first 90 days in communication and relationships, so we just spend a ton of time getting to know people and getting to know the customers and really not changing anything that we don’t have to. If you read the book The First 90 Days, that’s what we do, we are focused on people, we look for the easy stroke of the pen, we can make something better really quickly here. So we do a couple of those and we have lots of town halls, that’s conversation and that’s worked really well.



But I think it starts with identifying the right deals, and that’s something obviously we’ve learned over time. But I think a lot of companies that start to grow with an acquisition strategy, the growth is, they fall in love with the deals and all of a sudden you’re just an assimilation of a bunch of different companies, you’re not one company. And so if you’ve read the book Small Giants, that’s another great one, it’s not about growth, we’ll grow, we could grow as fast as I think we wanted to, but it’s all about culture and community and people, and so the right deals are most important.


Marcia Barnes (23:19):

Truer words were never spoken. Getting the right deal, you’re really good at the communication piece, which is typically something people will fail at. But you’ve also got this asset of your culture, you can look purely at Wildman and see the asset of the culture that is able to attract those acquisitions too, but then being firm in what you are and who you are helps you to integrate more easily too. Without that, you just start moving in all different directions, right?


Josh Wildman (23:46):



Marcia Barnes (23:46):

What have you learned in this acquisition process? I know I’ve seen some recent ones, I don’t know how many you’ve done in the past, but was this something you had experience with earlier or?


Josh Wildman (23:56):

We hadn’t done acquisitions up until five years ago for 15 years, and we started off with a decent sized acquisition to get started, that was, our industry, lots of deal making going on, most industries, the silver tsunami. And all of a sudden we saw a couple of our local best competitors, independent family owned businesses selling out and we’re going, “didn’t see that coming,” and we would’ve liked to at least have a conversation. And so led to say, “if this is going to happen in markets that we’re in or we want to be in, lets at least be at the table and be aware of it.”



And so that began a couple of smaller acquisitions, which we learned a lot that led to this last acquisition, was the largest acquisition in our industry between two privately held laundries since the seventies. And so we’re excited by that and it’s gone well nine months in, but that’s how we got started. And again, though without our board and several key executives that have joined the company, there would’ve been a lot more cultural damage and financial challenges if we hadn’t had the advice and counsel we do.


Marcia Barnes (25:15):

The other thing you’ve got going on at the world of Wildman, it’s a family owned business, it’s in third generation now, great leaders coming out of the family, people working in the business, people not working in the business. Tell me about what you guys have seen, usually when I see a company that’s transitioning in these healthy ways, there’s a process and development that’s been going on behind the scenes, what does that look like for Wildman?


Josh Wildman (25:39):

I think it’s Sierra Nevada, I think most people know they’re a large brewery out of California, their slogan is family owned, fought over since 19, whatever.


Marcia Barnes (25:52):

That’s perfect.


Josh Wildman (25:53):

No. Family business, you look at the statistics and we’re in very rare air as far as generational family businesses that are still privately held, that’s taken a lot of work. And again, just blessed, through Truth At Work, I was able to go to a day with David Green, which is Hobby Lobby, and met the signature there and Bill High specifically. And so reached out to Bill and asked if he’d help us with … we knew we needed to get a family council going, just didn’t know what that looked like. And so did some research, tried a few different things, it was bumpy at first, but Bill came in, Bill’s been working with our family for three years, and helped us establish as a family the vision not only just to make it to the next generation, he said it’s all biblical, tied it back to the Bible.



If you’re looking just in next generation, you’re going to fail, you got to look 200 years out. And ultimately, starting with relationships and establishing vision, mission, values, and really we spent two years just on that, just relationships and what are we really about as a family. And then it gets into governance and training around that governance, so employment policies for family members and giving policies and education and culture committees. So we almost run a separate organization as it relates to our family council, which absolutely, the business is part of that and is a key driver, but that’s been huge, it doesn’t make it any easier.



Families, we’ve all got our individual family units, but we’ve got the structure, we’ve got the relationships, and we definitely have the true north for us, which is world influencers living differently. That’s our vision that we want to share with the family because not all are going to be in the family business, but all have an opportunity to live out what we believe as a family we’re called to, which is to really share the kingdom with the world.


Marcia Barnes (27:53):

And we talked earlier about being in the CEO role has a lot of pressure and isolation in it. Putting the family multi-generational business on top of that brings other stressors too, and it takes that intentional relationship and communication building to keep that on track. I recently heard one of the leaders of Cook Enterprises in Evansville, they own Cook Air and HVAC distributor actually, and they own a lot of different types of factories around the Midwest. And they were founded after the Civil War and started out as a sheet metal fabrication business, so they’re in fifth generation, and they have their rules for being a family member coming into the business, is you have to go get a college degree and then you have to go work somewhere else coming out of college that’s not Cook Enterprises and you have to get one promotion on that job before you can come back to the mothership.



And the reason they do that is, if they get to the family business and they don’t like it, they’ve got the confidence that they’ve performed somewhere and got promoted before they started in the family business. And I thought that was very wise way of thinking about that.


Josh Wildman (29:04):

Yeah, ours is a little bit different, but it sounds somewhat similar in that, it’s really saying the business is an opportunity, but you need to go establish yourself first and foremost and see the world. And then it helps with the nepotism part and helps in a lot of ways, so I totally agree.


Marcia Barnes (29:26):

There’s one interesting story, I’ve said they were founded after the Civil War, it was actually before the Civil War that they were founded by three brothers, the Cook brothers, and two of them joined the union and one of them joined the Confederate Army. And so 10 years later and after the war, that guy opened a business in the south and then that business failed and he wrote a letter back to the other brothers asking if he could come home. He had just assumed that he would be kicked out of the family and the family business, and they welcomed him back with open arms.



When they were sharing that they have to go to another job and get a promotion, and then if they’re coming to the family, they have to write a letter to say what they’ve learned and apply. And I asked if that was because of the Confederate brother that had wrote the letter to see if he could come back.


Josh Wildman (30:15):

That’s good.


Marcia Barnes (30:18):

This has been the case for generations, it’s difficult, families are difficult and then apply business to it on top of that and it makes another layer of difficulty that you can work through if you’re diligent about it. And at the end of the day, loving and serving one another is the way to do that, so that’s good.



You and I spend a lot of time together in Truth At Work, Truth At Work is an organization that puts business owners and leaders together in peer group round tables to help advise one another on matters of personal, business, or spiritual growth. And we’re both in different round tables, we’ve had different experiences, we’re both on the board there, what is the value for a peer group like that from your point of view for business owners and leaders?


Josh Wildman (31:08):

I would say the value, especially with Truth At Work, is it seems like church happens when we’re in our meetings and the Holy Spirit shows up. You don’t know who that day is going to be most served, and sometimes they don’t even know that it’s going to happen, but all of a sudden you see the value that the person that needs the council or the support or the accountability or just even the wisdom, it seems like the Holy Spirit works to bring that to the center of the table and then that peer group comes around that issue or that opportunity and just blesses that member.



I have never seen anything like it, I have been in a lot of CEO round tables for faith-based or not and the effectiveness is amazing, I’ve seen million dollars made, prevention of a million dollar loss. But more than that, I’ve seen people come around people that are struggling maybe with family or with a personnel decision, it’s an amazing organization.


Marcia Barnes (32:10):

I’ve seen marriages saved, conversions happen, children redeemed, all kinds of things that change drastically for people who are participating in that. I’ve been doing it for 15 years, so I’ve seen a lot of really good growth, not only in myself, but my business friends who participate. I enjoy that a lot, a lot of transformation going on in there.


Josh Wildman (32:29):

Yeah, a lot of transformation, a lot of life change going on. And the network’s a bonus, I think beyond just your round table, the Truth At Work network has been a blessing to me.


Marcia Barnes (32:41):

And growing.


Josh Wildman (32:42):

And growing.


Marcia Barnes (32:43):

We currently are growing across the country with starting round tables in communities. If somebody’s listening and they wanted to see a round table in their community, they could go to our website, I think, right?


Josh Wildman (32:56):



Marcia Barnes (32:57): and get connected, we’d be happy to talk to you, if you think you’d like to lead a round table, we can talk to you about that too. So getting back to the Wildman story and transformation, you got this great culture, you’re acquiring other businesses, you’re growing organically, families working on their stuff too, which is outstanding. So tell me about a time when you’ve seen transformation, I define it as a noticeable change in substance or form, it’s pretty drastic, it’s not the gradual growth over time, but transformation to something else. Tell me about someone that you’ve seen at Wildman Group go through that type of transformation.


Josh Wildman (33:36):

One of the most radical stories, and you got to hear Alex’s story, Marcia, when you attended our Christmas party, but we had an individual that came to us, needed an opportunity, I think that’s one of the other things about our organization, is yes, education’s important, experience is important, resumes are important, but we try to look at the person. And so we got a call, this gentleman was coming out of Teen Challenge, he’d spent a year in Teen Challenge, which is a substance recovery organization, not one of, the best, 70 plus percent success rate. And this guy was a natural salesperson, and you could just tell and enthusiastic carte.



My wife and I, Leslie, got to know him a bit, we hired him in for sales and he took off, first year, President’s Club, top performer, making good money, he was still figuring out how to do life with God and do life in the world where all this temptation exists. And so he’s one of those when in the wrong environment, he could slip pretty quickly. And unfortunately, he got caught up, he went from alcohol abuse to heroin.


Marcia Barnes (34:50):

That’s a [inaudible 00:34:51].


Josh Wildman (34:50):

And so he’s working for us, all of a sudden he changes, about 12 months in and he becomes a heroin addict. So obviously, the job doesn’t work out, but as things go with our organization, is you’re still part of our family, and so we continued to pursue him. A number of us had become close to him, and long story short, after it was about a two-year period where some other community members were pursuing Alex and members from our work community, we were able to get him back in Teen Challenge. And now basically, he serves kids that are in the same situation that are just like Alex in California for Teen Challenge, and it brings the gospel on a regular basis to teenagers in the west and across the nation and he is now going out to start his own nonprofit to do that with even more influence and dedication.



Just to see that transformation, that amazing to see God’s call on somebody, to see them struggle through those ups and downs to the point of almost near death, and to see that totally redeemed. And you heard him say it, he was on his knees as a heroin addict and he rose up as a preacher, and there’s nothing more transforming than that, that’s what God can do in your life. And our organization was just used for that time to be intentional.


Marcia Barnes (36:24):

And he is a brilliant preacher, it’s not just a matter of he stood up a preacher, it was immediate anointing, right?


Josh Wildman (36:34):



Marcia Barnes (36:34):

Also, what I’m hearing here too, that I hadn’t thought about because I’d heard his testimony last year at your Christmas party, which I will take a little sidebar here. When I first was getting to know your company and the name was Wildman, and I’m like, these people have the last name, Wildman, this is going to be a fun Christmas party, and it is fun, but different from other Christmas parties. So I needed to have that name, I could have gotten in a lot of trouble. Because you have to think about it, for you guys that have that name, you’re bearing a target on your back.


Josh Wildman (37:04):

Yeah, a little bit.


Marcia Barnes (37:05):

A little bit. Something that I’m noticing in this for the first time, I talk a lot about people get too attached to people working for them that they belong to them, you’ll hear people talking about being upset that somebody left, where’s loyalty, I did this for them and that for them and they try to hold onto people with clenched fist.



And what I’ve come to realize is that I believe that God calls a person into our business to serve here, but if I believe that he’s calling them in, I also need to believe that he may call them out at some point too, and my job is to take care of what happens in between those two points. And what I hear in this story of Alex as I’m reflecting on it with you today, is you guys aren’t attached to, the person has to be an employer, they’re not of value to you that you continue to pursue their heart and their soul in Christ Jesus, and that’s remarkable, most business owners can’t do that.


Josh Wildman (37:57):

Well, my dad talks about it, but 25 years ago about, when he hired an outside CEO, so he turned personnel over to God and he turned finances over to God, and that’s been something that we’ve just tried to live out that we may have a team member for life. We just celebrated one of our best that’s been with us for 30 years and his son works for us, that’s awesome and it’s beautiful. But if we make it too much about the organization and not really the path that God’s taken that person on, we can actually hold people back from changing their life and other lives.



Our whole goal is to, if we really live out that purpose statement, again, it doesn’t make sense on the balance sheet, is to empower people for their full potential and purpose. That may not always be with our organization, but in ways just like with Alex, it will always impact our organization. He came back and spoke at our Christmas party and brought it, it was beautiful, and so in that way, he’s a lifelong member of our family. But it’s not always easily lived out though, but it’s something we try to do well.


Marcia Barnes (39:14):

Absolutely. From my perspective, I see it a lot in your organization. I love the story that you’ve shared with me before on the people huddled around the stove, tell our listeners about that couple.


Josh Wildman (39:27):

Alicia and Josh Brooks, they are basically our living testimony, they say it so well. So in 2017, Alicia joined our organization, Alicia’s first generation immigrant from Jamaica, so she’s living the American dream, we were just able to be part of her American dream. She joined our organization in our production facility, we’re a laundry, it’s gritty, hot work, and she joined us and we have those programs that we have, Financial Peace University was one she took advantage of with her husband Josh. Her husband Josh joined us shortly thereafter, they had a 10-month-old and they were living in a trailer and they couldn’t pay their gas bill, but they still had electricity at that point and they were huddled around their stove for heat in the winter, that year, they said they made combined $18,000.


Marcia Barnes (40:24):

Goodness, in 2017?


Josh Wildman (40:26):



Marcia Barnes (40:28):

This is not like 1970, right?


Josh Wildman (40:30):

Yeah. But they leaned in, again, we’re just giving people the opportunity, we’re just empowering them to be transformed to have their life changed. And they leaned into Financial Peace University specifically, and some people that would pour into them and encourage them and they followed that program to a tee. And I think it was two years later, I was at the grocery store picking up some food, and I see Alicia or Alicia sees me and she butt tackles me just telling me the story of how they’ve been tithing, they just started tithing and the math doesn’t make sense, “we do the math, but we have extra money in our account, we don’t understand it.”



And long story short, they’ve both been promoted several times and they’re thriving. I think Josh will probably eventually not be in our organization, he just got his realtor’s license, he wants to start his own agency and go out on his own, that would be amazing. Alicia just told me that she wants to become CEO, I don’t know any reason why she couldn’t.


Marcia Barnes (41:28):

Wouldn’t that be something?


Josh Wildman (41:29):

She’s smart and driven and getting more confident every day.


Marcia Barnes (41:35):

Certainly has the Wildman DNA.


Josh Wildman (41:37):

Yeah, has the Wildman DNA. And so their life has dramatic … now they have two kids, they’ve bought their own home, their car’s paid for, they’ve got dreams they believe in they can accomplish anything. But they do that with the Servant’s heart, so they’re helping other people, that trailer they were in when they bought their home, they gave it away. And so they’re being generous, so they’re wonderful people.


Marcia Barnes (42:04):

That’s great. Awesome things going on at the Wildman Group, Josh, I’m so honored to walk shoulder to shoulder with you in business and community. Thanks for everything you’re doing, not just there, but here in our city and in our state and the country with your leadership, with the Truth At Work board and being chairman there. If someone wants to reach out to Wildman Group, either for employment or to sell a business or to be a client, what’s the best way for them to contact you?


Josh Wildman (42:29):

Well,, lots of ways to reach us through our website, or just email me, I’d love to talk to you personally and get you plugged in with the right thing. And we’re an open book, if we’ve learned anything, everything we’re doing was a version of something else we learned from somewhere or somebody else, so come visit and we would love to have you and would love to meet you.


Marcia Barnes (42:54):

That’s great. And you’re working on a book, right?


Josh Wildman (42:56):



Marcia Barnes (42:56):

How’s that coming along?


Josh Wildman (42:59):

Edited through chapter four, written through Chapter 10 and 12, and framework’s all there, it should be out, I would say in the next six months, so maybe second or third quarter of this 2024. It’s called Change and it’s a personal journey to marketplace ministry.


Marcia Barnes (43:15):



Josh Wildman (43:20):

And it’s a bit more of this story that we’ve been talking about, and it’s some more information on our programs and to a challenge to 50 organizations to sign up and really give their business to God.


Marcia Barnes (43:27):

Right, that’s awesome. And we would both be probably kicked off the board if we didn’t remind people, if you are interested in participating in or leading a Truth At Work roundtable in your city, we’d love to talk to you about it, and you can reach out to or Josh or I will be willing to help you in that journey as well. Josh, thanks so much for sharing with us today, it’s always great to spend this time with you.


Josh Wildman (43:49):

Thanks, Marcia, it is a privilege, so thank you.


Narrator (43:53):

Thank you for joining us for Here We Grow, this show is proudly brought to you by Valve & Meter Performance Marketing. Be sure to check out the show notes for exclusive content that will help you become a transformational leader. For more, visit